Gig Alert: Baby Rose in Berlin

The Atlanta-based artist with a voice of a young Nina Simone is coming to Europe for a short, 8-city tour. Her debut album “To Myself” was released last August on the indie Human Re Sources label and is also available on limited edition vinyl.

Baby Rose "To Myself"

The power and the beauty of tracks like the album’s opener “Sold Out” is so refreshing that it makes me wonder where she has been all the time. She sometimes sounds like a younger, modern version of Macy Gray on “Borderline” for example. Her vibrato is pretty special indeed, and very strong, but never gets to the point where it’s too much. She also reminds me of another young soul vocalist who can’t really be put in a box: Michael Kiwanuka. “Ragrets” could’ve been recorded by Michael too. Baby Rose (her real name is Rose Wilson) sounds best on the midtempo cuts, like the irresistible “Pressure” with its quirky guitar and synth mix, making this a somewhat eerie affair. The layered background vocals only add to this.

Her smoky, raspy voice excellently comes to the fore on “Mortal”, the album’s first single about going back to her lover over and over again. “I don’t think I have the power, yet, or realize the power to be able to completely cut off love”, she said about the song in an NPR interview. The title track is another love-lost song and in fact, she wrote all of the songs after a break-up with her longtime partner. But there is also some sort of strange sweetness, comfort and ease in songs like “In Your Arms”, even though she sings “show me how to die in your arms”. It’s those antagonisms which make her lyrics so interesting. You won’t find buoyancy and optimism, but you’ll find frustration and rage on “Artifacts”.

The dreamy “Show You” concludes the album and there is another track she released a few months after her album (“August 5th”) and it shows that she is able to conjure up a magical moment too, something bittersweet and vulnerable that makes her really a new voice to look out for. And don’t miss her on her European shows. There is just one gig in Germany.

2/20 Chicago – Empty Bottle
2/22 New York – Chelsea Music Hall
2/23 Philadelphia – The Fillmore
2/24 Washington – Songbyrd Music House
3/02 Stockholm – Obaren
3/03 Copenhagen – Huset
3/04 Berlin – Kantine am Berghain
3/06 Amsterdam – Paradiso
3/07 Rotterdam – Bird
3/09 Paris – 1999
3/10 London – Colours Hoxton
3/11 Dublin – Academy 2
3/15 Los Angeles – The Echo
3/16 Oakland – The Parish


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